Research • Policy • Practice
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To Serve, Protect, and Treat:

Law Enforcement and Treatment Courts

An NDCRC Webinar

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In the United States, approximately 1.5 million individuals arrested each year are at risk of substance dependence. Law enforcement is often the first point of contact for those with substance use disorders. Treatment courts strive to combine effective justice approaches with clinical services, and law enforcement officers are vital to achieving this goal. The National Drug Court Resource Center at the Justice Programs Office, a center within the American University’s School of Public Affairs, hosted a webinar to discuss best practices and strategies to engage law enforcement with treatment courts.

The webinar covered:

  • The role of law enforcement in treatment court programs
  • Engagement strategies to increase participation from law enforcement
  • Education and training approaches to inform law enforcement about treatment services
  • Law enforcement as advocates for treatment court programs


Portrait of Jac_Charlier
Portrait Michelle_Boyd

Moderated by: Zephi Francis, Research Specialist, Justice Programs Office

Zephi Francis is a research specialist at American University’s Justice Programs Office (JPO). At JPO, Zephi is part of the National Drug Court Resource Center (NDCRC) – an initiative charged with providing drug court professionals with resources to enable their programs to operate as effectively as possible. He also manages NDCRC’s Annual Drug Court Surveys, which collect information on drug courts’ counts, operations, and target populations.



Ronald R. Thrasher, Director Forensic Psychology Program, Oklahoma State University

Retiring from a 35-year law enforcement career, Dr. Ron Thrasher received a Ph.D. from Oklahoma State University in 1999 and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy. Currently, Dr. Thrasher heads the Forensic Psychology Program at the Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences, Tulsa. Dr. Thrasher serves as the first and continuous president of the board of directors of Oklahoma’s first therapeutic drug court and researches and teaches on a wide range of therapeutic court issues and their relation to advance law enforcement philosophies.


Alex Casale, New Hampshire Statewide Specialty Courts Coordinator

Alex Casale graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and dual minors in justice studies and philosophy. Alex was appointed the state coordinator for specialty courts in New Hampshire by Chief Justice Nadeau in 2013 on a volunteer basis and was hired full time in July of 2016. In this role, he oversees the policy, budgets, and operations of drug courts in the state. Alex is also a board member of the New England Association of Drug Court Professionals, serving on the executive committee as its treasurer for the past three years. During his time with the association, Alex has also been a conference committee co-chair, finance committee co-chair, and is the chairman of the sponsorship committee.


Jac Charlier, National Director for Justice Initiatives, Center for Health and Justice at TASC

Jac Charlier is the national director for Justice Initiatives for the Center for Health and Justice (CHJ) at TASC. He specializes in solutions to reduce crime and drug use by successfully bridging the criminal justice and behavioral health systems from police to prosecutors to courts to probation to parole. Jac is a leader in our nation’s battle against opioids. Jac developed a framework for prevention and reduction of opioid overdose and death in the justice population, as well as community-based, post-opioid overdose response strategies for law enforcement. Jac is also a nationally recognized expert in pre-arrest police diversion and is the co-founder of the Police, Treatment and Community (PTAC) Collaborative. He a is a military veteran and earned his master’s degree in public policy from The Ohio State University. Jac is a recognized civic and community leader in his home city of Chicago.


Michelle Boyd, Law Enforcement Officer Second Circuit Drug Court Program in South Dakota

Michelle Boyd is the chief deputy at the Minnehaha County Sheriff’s office. She graduated from the University of South Dakota with a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice and a minor in drug and alcohol studies. She also holds a master’s degree in administrative studies. Michelle has held various positions throughout her 25 years of service at the sheriff’s office, including general patrol, criminal investigations, warden of the jail, and chief deputy. She has instructed as a criminal justice professor at the South Dakota Public Universities and Research Center to provide education and training in the law enforcement profession. Michelle joined the 2nd Circuit Drug Court as a law enforcement representative at the inception of the program in 2011, prior to that she was a member of the Meth Sentencing Alternative program.